The Teachers’ Lounge – Memorable moments from September 2012

Ned Bitters

Instead of waiting until June to recap all the school year’s funniest moments, I’ll just check in every few weeks with updates from Insanity High. We’re only four weeks into the school year and already the kids – and teachers – are delivering.

Wonder if the Kid Can Spell “Stripper Pole”

I had my seniors fill out an information sheet on the first day this year. Yes, even though all this information is easily accessible in our database, many of us still torture the students on Day One by having them fill out their personal information and course schedule. It’s a tedious chore, but after this many years on the job, you become expert in the art of time wasting. Otherwise, I might have to start – gulp! – actually teaching on the first day.

One mainstreamed special ed senior is so slow that he wrote “Action” under “Mother’s Last Name.” The first name was left blank. I quietly asked him about it. (See, once again, you can see the veteran teacher at work. When I was younger, I’d have made a big, embarrassing, life-altering production out of it in front of the entire class, scarring the poor bastard and earning his undying hatred.)

He said, “I don’t know how to spell her name. It’s supposed (or “’posed”) to be ‘Atkinson.” I said it was no problem at all and asked him what his mom’s first name is so that I could write it in. He told me it was “Phyllis.” I’m really glad I asked, because had he taken a stab at that spelling mind-bender, it might have come out as “Filthy,” and you know damn well I’d have been trying to set up an immediate conference – preferably in a bar – with this stripper mom, as who wouldn’t want to get to know Ms. Filthy Action.

And to Think I only Worked at a Crummy Pizza Hut when I Was Young

When filling out a rough draft sheet for his senior portfolio resume, one kid got a little careless when listing his work experience. He had written that he was popular “all over this county” because he was a jack of all trades who did odd jobs for many people. Except he didn’t use the antiquated expression “odd jobs.” He tried to say that he was a handyman. Except he didn’t write “handyman.” He tried to write about how he was good at doing “handy jobs.” Except he wrote that he was popular because he “performed hand jobs all over the county.”

Of course, being the nurturing, parental-type teacher that I am, I made sure to show it to him and express that I had absolutely no doubt that such a part-time job would lead to his county-wide popularity. I also asked him what he charges for such a service. He’s black, but I swear he turned crimson. Then he just kept telling me, “Go ‘head, Bitt! C’mon, Bitt! Get outta here, Bitt! I mean ‘Handy!’ I meant ‘Handy!’” He was terrorized and mortified, and I was gratified and satisfied.

Two days later a cute senior girl was describing her job duties as hostess at a local barbecue restaurant. Apparently, one of her duties entails “servicing the customers.” I refrained from following through on the impulse to ask her if she would like to pair up with the Hand Job Kid, move to Vegas and start a new operation that would drive the Bunny Ranch right out of business.

If This Kid Ever Gets Food Stamps, He’ll Still Probably Bitch About Prices

On cafeteria duty last week, I saw this one boy I have in class come out with his food. He is always first in line, and his mom is the cashier. In a pathetic attempt to bond with him, I say, “So, does your mom let you slide by without paying?” With great indignation at the thought of his non-comping mother unfairly charging him for lunch, he sneered and said, “No!” He continued walking for about three seconds, stopped, turned back to me and said with all the revelatory wonder of Edison seeing his first working light bulb, “Wait … I already get free lunch!” He was not being ironic.

Passing Notes Is So Freaking Childish

Finally, I would like to relate the contents of two notes that made their way into my hands within about a five-minute segment of time one Friday morning. The first was written during a group presentation at the board. It read: “Friday, 10:37 … and there we have it … the last shit I have to give!” Needless to say, I found it hilarious.

While still laughing at that one, I got hold of a second note that commented on another person’s interest level in the presentation. This one read, “[Fist furiously moving up and down over crotch.]” I found that one funnier than the first note.

But what makes these notes especially humorous is that they were not written by kids but by other teachers as we sat through an in-service watching a few overly enthusiastic teachers present some teaching strategy that all of us would promptly forget the minute we left for lunch. Oh, and the first note writer is 48 years old. The second note writer is 57. I am in the middle there somewhere.

So, the combined age of the writers and the person who chortled mightily at such immaturity comes in at over 150 years.

And I have no doubt that before the month is out, each of us will have severely lectured students on their need to start acting their ages.

Ned Bitters teaches high school and dreams of one day seeing one of his former students on stage at a strip club. You can contact him at

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